News / Asia

Families Still Rebuilding 5 Years After Massive China Quake

Families Still Rebuilding 5 Years After Massive China Quakei
X
May 10, 2013 9:17 PM
Five years ago, China’s Wenchuan earthquake became one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters when it struck southern Sichuan province. The eight-point-zero quake killed nearly 90,000 people, toppled hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanently changed many families. VOA’s Bill Ide spoke with survivors in Sichuan to see how they have fared in the years since.
William Ide
Five years ago, China’s Wenchuan earthquake became one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters when it struck southern Sichuan province. The eight-point-zero quake killed nearly 90,000 people, toppled hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanently changed many families.
 
Ma Tang was just 12 years old when the Wenchuan earthquake robbed him of his father. He is 17 now, his mother has remarried and his young step-sister keeps him busy.


“After the earthquake my mom cried a lot and when she did, I would cry with her. At first, she didn’t want to remarry, but she also wanted to take good care of me. She was under a lot of pressure," he said. "So I was very happy when neighbors introduced her to possible partners. I liked my step-dad very much when I met him, he is very good to me and he is also very handsome."
 
Four years ago, VOA met Ma Tang’s step-father Yao Yunbing.  At the time, Yao was still struggling to cope with the loss of his wife and 17-year-old daughter. Both died during the quake.
 
Yao’s daughter was one of the thousands of students who died when their schools collapsed on them.
 
In late 2009, Yao and Ma Tang’s mother married.

“At first everything was very normal and simple. At times we would argue. He said that if we didn't have a child we should split up. He had been through a lot and he often got angry and cried. When I saw him cry I would cry as well, but then after the baby was born he was more at peace,” quake survivor Tang Dongmei recalled.
 
The massive loss of life from the quake was partly due to shoddy construction - particularly government-built schools. As the death toll rose, so did the public backlash against authorities.
 
Now, many here have taken out bank loans to supplement the reconstruction funds they received from the government, to ensure homes are stronger and safer.
 
But analysts said more needs to be done.
 
“I think that awareness of anti-seismic construction and disaster prevention is now what is most lacking," said Long Enshen, who is with Sichuan University’s Institute of Disaster Management and Reconstruction. "And I believe that we need to strengthen every day action by the government and by non-government organizations to help with these matters.”
 
The Yao family’s home was rebuilt using steel and cement, but they are struggling to pay off their loan.
 
Yao works eight hours away and comes home once a week. Ma Tang’s mother would like to work too, but said opportunities are few as she never finished elementary school.
 
Keenly aware of his family’s challenges, Ma Tang said that when he wants to buy something he thinks first of his young step-sister.
 
He said he loves sports and wants to play soccer in high school. Ma Tang said he hopes some day he might even get a chance to play on the national team.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid